Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Estimating and Counting Routines Part 4

New to my estimating and counting routines series?  Check out part 1, part 2 and part 3!

This week, I knew I wanted to work with a group of first grade students on their counting and estimating skills.  We have been working on counting by 10's in class (going over 100!) and these kids still needed help with that as well as needing a great deal of help with estimating quantities.

I decided to pull my Teddy Bear Counters for this group.

I place my tub of counters on the table and asked kids to think about how many bears might be in here.  I asked them if they thought there were more than 10? (everyone said yes)  More than 20? (everyone said yes)  More than 100? (only one kid said yes)
Then I dumped the bears on the table and spread them out a bit.  I again asked them if they still thought there was more than 20.  (all said yes) Is there more than 100?  (all said no!!!)
I then pulled 10 off to the side to give them an idea about what 10 looked like and asked them to think about how many teddy bears in all.  
A student recorded everyone's estimates in the middle column of this white board.  You can see that the estimates ranged from 25 up to 65.  I asked, is there enough so that we can all take 10?  They all said YES- even the kid whose estimate was 25.  Once we each had 10, one of the kids suggested we arrange them like they were sitting on a 10 frame so that we could "tell just by looking" that everyone had 10.  I then had kids think about the fact that 50 bears had already been removed and there was still quite a pile if they wanted to make another estimate
The new estimates are recorded in the third column.  You can see some kids got the idea that they needed to increase their estimate and some really still need a great deal of practice.  Notice one child chose 53 even though 50 had been removed and a large pile still remained.
We each took 10 more bears.  You can see here that the students continued to arrange them as if they were sitting on 10 frames.  They really bought into this idea and it really helped them keep their counting organized.  We counted each group by 10's and found we had 100 bears and STILL MORE in the pile.  The students got SO EXCITED that we were going to go over 100!  After we each had 20, I again asked them if there was enough for us each to take 10.  Most kids agreed there was, so I let each of them take 10 but waited to take my turn.  When they each had 10, there was only 3 remaining bears so my last group was a group of 3.  
We counted by 10's a few more times to confirm that we had 140 bears with some left over.  I wanted to make sure kids got repeated exposure to counting by 10's over 100.  Then we decided to count on by 1's to figure out how much 3 more would be.  We had 143 total and the kids had a great time.  I learned that this group of kids needs a lot more experiences with counting and estimating.  
If you want to read more about the importance of counting in the classroom, there is a great article called Counting Collections that was published March 2007 in Teaching Children Mathematics.  A Google search should lead you to a copy of it!

Click here to head to part 5!


  1. Aren't their brains interesting? I am terrible at estimating, even as an adult, but I am constantly fascinated with my kids and how they think about quantities, even in the face of evidence to suggest they are way off. :-) I loved reading about this activity...thanks!

    One, Two, Three: Math Time!
    The Craft of Teaching

    1. Estimating is certainly a skill that some people are better at than others but little kids really do like to stick to their guess and they love nothing more than guessing 100!

  2. We do this every Friday and it's very popular with my kids. They're getting better at it but I'm still amazed at the few who increase their estimate by just one or two even though there are clearly many objects left:)). Enjoyed your post!

  3. This is such a perfect activity. We do an estimation jar every week, but this small group activity is something I don't do. I'm pinning.
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First